Wednesday, 25 February 2015

The hidden monk revealed

The mummified remains of a thousand year old Buddhist monk is undergoing scientific examination. The first step was a CT scan carried out in the Netherlands and the results of a DNA study is forthcoming. The monk was interred inside a statue of Buddha found in Mongolia last month and is thought to be an example of sokushinbutsu, or self-mummification, best known from a number of such mummies in Japan.

Many believe that the incorruptibility of the flesh is a sign of enlightenment and I am reminded of the strange report of such in the remains of Paramahansa Yogananda.

A confusing statement in the video that the monk might have been a teacher of Dashi-Dorzho Itigilov (1852-1927) seems to be from an error in translation. His similarly preserved remains can be seen in the linked Wikipedia article. As a rule, in Tibetan Buddhism in Tibet itself, the remains are destroyed through the practice of "sky burial". Although the practical reason for this is that burial or cremation would be a problem with frozen ground and a lack of firewood, it is also thought that the spirit could try to stay with the body and not move on.

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